This degree gives you the opportunity to focus on physical geography from the very start. You'll develop a deep understanding of the processes that shape our planet and how they impact on human lives and communities. Alongside this, you'll develop advanced laboratory and GIS skills.
You'll learn from internationally recognised experts in a range of fields, in the UK and internationally. Valuable field visits will take you to explore our geographically rich region but also to places as far away as Morocco, Iceland and New Zealand.
Having already performed very well in A level Geography, you'll continue to build a firm foundation of knowledge and skills in Stage 1, enabling you to thrive in the final stages. The turning point of the degree is a residential field course module in Stage 2.
Quality and ranking
- top 100 – Geography category – QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019
- top 200 – Social Sciences category – Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2018
- 10th in the UK for research – Research Excellence Framework 2014
Modules and learning
The information below is intended to provide an example of what you will study.
Most degrees are divided into stages. Each stage lasts for one academic year, and you'll complete modules totalling 120 credits by the end of each stage.
Our teaching is informed by research, and course content changes periodically to reflect developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, student feedback, or numbers of students interested in an optional module.
Full details of the modules on offer will be published through the Programme Regulations and Specifications ahead of each academic year. This usually happens in May.
To find out more please see our terms and conditions.
You'll explore global environmental issues alongside physical geography concepts and techniques. For example, glacial, volcanic, tectonic, flooding, landslide as well as other river catchment and coastal processes.
You’ll gain a broad introduction into the methods used to investigate and understand how environments and landscapes evolve and change. This includes mapping, coring, surveying and GIS analysis. You'll put this training into practice during a residential field course in the Lake District.
You'll study advanced research techniques in physical geography as well as more thematic modules. These will help you to deepen your understanding of key concepts and processes in physical geography research.
You will also choose your second-year field course. In recent years these have included Ireland, Iceland, Morocco and New Zealand.
Remaining topics will be optional. This gives you the chance to engage with our cutting-edge research in areas that interest you the most.
You'll have a choice of optional modules and will complete a major piece of independent research in your dissertation, which represents a third of your studies in Stage 3. Specialist optional modules are closely linked to the research interests of staff, providing cutting-edge insights into exciting and developing areas of physical geography.
There is also another opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad, which will be an option if you didn’t take the study abroad option in Stage 2.
Teaching and assessment
We deliver a ‘hands-on’ approach to geography. We use practical surveying classes, complemented by laboratory work, computer-based scientific analysis, and development of models and theories.
Our geography courses include a high level of staff and student interaction, including:
- laboratory work in new Geoscience laboratories
- IT lab sessions
You'll be assessed through a combination of:
Dissertation or research project
Examinations – practical or online
Skills and experience
Fieldwork is an invaluable part of this degree and brings to life the topics you'll be studying. You'll get to take part in:
- UK and international residential trips to put your technical skills into practice
- regular day trips to explore our nearby landscapes
You'll be part of a vibrant research community alongside our highly respected research staff. Fieldwork through your degree will help you grow as a researcher and cultivate your own research techniques.
Your final year dissertation enables you to refine and showcase the research skills you've developed throughout your degree.
What our students think
I decided to study Physical Geography as it allowed me to focus on the areas of geography that interested me the most such as glacial environments and rivers.
Experience life in another country by choosing to study abroad as part of your degree. You’ll be encouraged to embrace fun and challenging experiences, make connections with new communities and graduate as a globally aware professional, ready for your future.
You can choose to spend up to a year studying at a partner institution overseas.
If you choose to study abroad, it will extend your degree by a year.
Get career ready with a work placement and leave as a confident professional in your field. You can apply to spend 9 to 12 months working in any organisation in the world, and receive University support from our dedicated team to secure your dream placement. Work placements take place between stages 2 and 3.
You'll gain first-hand experience of working in the sector, putting your learning into practice and developing your professional expertise.
If you choose to take a work placement, it will extend your degree by a year. A work placement is not available if you're spending a year studying abroad. Placements are subject to availability.
Facilities and environment
As a geography student at Newcastle, you'll be based in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology.
You'll have access to modern laboratories and workshops, and a range of facilities and specialist equipment that will be part of the entirely refurbished and newly resourced home of Geography at Newcastle, the Henry Daysh Building and Geoscience Laboratories.
Our geomorphology and sediment, chemistry and biology laboratories are used for a combination of teaching and research. Our research-specific laboratories comprise organic geochemistry and palaeoecology, a spatial analysis lab, and cosmogenic isotope lab.
Field equipment includes a range of technologies for:
- topographic survey
- soil and sediment sampling
- biological and chemical analysis
- hydrological analysis
- biology laboratory
- chemistry laboratory
- cosmogenic isotope laboratory
- geomorphology and sediment laboratories
You'll have the support of an academic member of staff as a personal tutor throughout your degree to help with academic and personal issues.
Peer mentors will help you in your first year. They are fellow students who can help you settle in and answer any questions you have, when starting university.
You'll also benefit from our:
- extended induction programme, to help you quickly settle in to our lively community of staff and students
- activities and events run by our highly active student-run society, GeogSoc
Join a network of successful graduates
93% of our Physical Geography BSc Honours graduates were employed or in further study within 6 months of graduating, with an average salary of £24,400*.
Recent graduates have secured roles such as:
- assistant flood risk consultant
- data analyst
- Environment Agency technical assistant
- graduate surveyor
*Destinations of (undergraduate, UK and EU) Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016/17
Graduates in demand
Our graduates’ excellent employment record is a sign of the flexibility and professionalism that our geography degrees develop.
You will leave with sought-after skills, including teamwork, project management, research and presentation skills, and therefore will have access to a wide variety of careers.
A Geography degree from Newcastle will ensure you develop the skills that employers look for and can open the doors to a wide range of careers. Our graduates have been recruited by a variety of organisations, including:
- the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
- the Environment Agency
- independent and major scientific consultancies
- Raleigh International
- the Armed Forces
- the NHS
- local government
- financial services firms
Make a difference
We strongly value developing your employability and have our own Geography Employability Co-ordinator. In your final year you can select an optional work experience module.
Our teaching draws upon rich and diverse research networks connected to the world of work. What we teach captures insights from employers ranging from governmental bodies and policy makers, to non-government organisations, the private sector and charities ensuring you are career ready.
Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ inititiative.
Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme
This degree is approved by DTUS, a Ministry of Defence sponsorship programme for students who wish to join the Royal Navy, British Army, RAF, or Defence Engineering and Science Group (DESG) as technical officers after graduation.
All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2020 entry.
Other UK qualifications (and PARTNERS)
Qualifications from outside the UK
English Language requirements
Through our PARTNERS programme, you could receive an offer up to three grades lower than the typical requirements, and get support throughout the application process. To apply through PARTNERS, you must be based in the UK and meet our eligibility criteria.
Entrance courses (INTO)
International Pathway Courses are specialist programmes designed for international students who want to study in the UK. We provide a range of study options for international students in partnership with INTO.
This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University, including Newcastle University London. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.
Tuition fees and scholarships
Tuition fees for 2020 entry (per year)
The maximum fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by the UK government.
As a general principle, you should expect the tuition fee to increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation.
You will be charged tuition fees for each year of your degree programme (unless you are on a shorter exchange programme).
The tuition fee amount you will pay may increase slightly year on year as a result of inflation.
Year abroad and additional costs
For programmes where you can spend a year on a work placement or studying abroad, you will receive a significant fee reduction for that year.
Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.
Find out more about:
Find out more about:
Open days and events
There's no better way to get a feel for Newcastle University than to come and visit our beautiful campus, located in one of the UK's most exciting student cities. The dates are now confirmed for our Undergraduate 2020 Open Days:
• Friday 26 June
• Saturday 27 June
• Saturday 19 September
Each open day is from 9am to 4pm.
Sign up for alerts, and we'll let you know when you can book to attend next Open Day.
You can also meet us at exhibitions across the UK.
Or you can join us for an event at our London Campus.
How to apply
Apply through UCAS
To apply for undergraduate study at Newcastle University, you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). All UK schools and colleges, and a small number of EU and international establishments, are registered with UCAS. You will need:
- the UCAS name and institution codes for Newcastle University (NEWC/N21)
- the UCAS code for the course you want to apply for
- the UCAS 'buzzword' for your school or college
If you are applying independently, or are applying from a school or college which is not registered to manage applications, you will still use the Apply system. You will not need a buzzword.Apply through UCAS
Apply through an agent
International students often apply to us through an agent. Have a look at our recommended agents and get in touch with them.